5 Things to Know for Week 20 (Fantasy Baseball)
We are rounding the corner and heading into the home stretch of fantasy baseball leagues. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you all even with us being in the height of fantasy football season too. Today, I’ll give you five important pieces of information that can help you win your leagues this season, or perhaps next year if you play in a dynasty format. Let’s do this!
#1 Blake Snell should be your top dynasty target
Did injuries derail your hopes this year? Or may you just had a rough draft? It happens. Let’s turn our attention to next year if you are in a dynasty or keeper league, and next year, Snell might win you a championship. If the Snell owner is still in the race, I’ll bet he’d trade the injured Snell for someone like Gio Urshela or Mike Minor. You’ve got to take advantage of that. The odd thing is, Snell has been (sit down for this) better this season. “How can that be!? His ERA is 4.28 and he won 21 games with a 1.89 last year.” Yup. But his K-rate is through the roof from 11.01 per 9 to 12.12. His BB/9 is down. The only difference has been that his BABIP jumped from .241 to .339 and his HR/FB rate from 10.7% to 16.7% while his LOB rate plummeted from 88% to 71%. Basically, Snell has been extraordinarily unlucky this season after being quite lucky last year. You can bet on that evening out next year and Snell returning to a top 10 starting pitcher.
#2 You can trust Yusei Kikuchi (this week only)
Now, don’t be getting the crazy idea of keeping Kikuchi after he looks good this week. This is only a two-start ordeal. He draws two excellent matchups against the Tigers (26th in baseball with a .712 OPS against lefties) and the Blue Jays (24th in baseball with a .728 OPS against lefties). In fact, both teams are top 10 in K-rate against lefties too at 25 and 24%. Yeesh! Kikuchi is coming off a stellar 5 inning, 1-run, 8-strikeouts outing at home against San Diego and now has just 4 walks in his last four starts. He can be relied on to toss two solid games this week.
#3 Tread carefully with Mike Tauchman
This is really simple, folks: Tauchman was a mediocre minor league hitter despite playing in hitter’s park after hitter’s park. He looked rough in his first two MLB seasons at 26 and 27 years old, but exploded this summer. The reason has nothing to do with him being a sudden breakout star like J.D. Martinez. Rather, he has been the single luckiest hitter in baseball with at least 200 plate appearances. His .301 batting average is actually 60 points higher than the quality of his batted balls suggests he should have, thanks in large part to a crazy .370 BABIP. Likewise, his league-average Barrels per batted ball, average exit velocity, hard-hit rate and average launch angel all suggest that his slugging percentage should be .416 instead of the incredible .581 we’ve seen. All of that is certain to come tumbling down to earth in the near future.
#4 Don’t hesitate to add D-Backs hitters this week
Not only does Arizona travel to Coors Field for a series but they also welcome the Giants into Chase Field. “Wait a moment, don’t the Giants have a good pitching staff.” Well, if you look at their 4.39 ERA they’ve been fine, but on the road (away from that extreme pitcher’s park), they’ve been awful with a 4.89 ERA which is much closer to the Rangers’ staff. Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar and David Peralta aren’t the only ones worth owning. You can pick up red-hot catcher, Carson Kelly (11% owned), Christian Walker (28%), or steal-machine, Jarrod Dyson (9%).
#5 J.D. Davis is….Nolan Arenado!?
“Whoa whoa whoa, too far!” You sure? I get it, I’ve been hyping up Davis all season so you might think I’m biased, but Davis is now hitting .308 with 13 homers and 16 doubles this season in just 273 at-bats. Arenado over the last six years has hit .297 with 16 homers and 18 doubles per 273 at-bats. So a little more power, but let’s not forget to factor in that one plays in Coors (by far the best part for hitters) and Davis plays in Citi Field (one of the worst for hitters). The batted ball data on Baseball Savant has Arenado as a .269 xBA with a .446 xSLG and just a .335 xwOBA. Coors props his real numbers up quite a bit, of course. Now let’s look at Davis. His xBA is .320 with a .533 xSLG and a .395 xwOBA. Basically, he is better than his real numbers actually suggest. For some comparison, all of those numbers are better than Juan Soto, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Javier Baez and Bryce Harper. Let’s remember this for draft day next year. Oh, and Davis is just TWENTY-THREE percent owned right now.